The Five Best David Bowie (Film) Performances

Saturday, October 9, 2010 12:45 PM By Simon

On these slow Saturdays, no way of getting around, nothing to do but watch movies and contemplate the finer things in life--British accents, glam rock in its original form, singers who become actors in movies that, for the most part, aren't shit--I keep coming back to the last great living seventies singer (that isn't Lou Reed. Or Grace Slick. Or all the other ones), David Bowie. And so I make a list.

Why? Fuck you, that's why.

5) The Prestige

This role combines my two favorite things: Bowie and Tesla. And magic lightning rooms.

4) The Hunger

Is this some thinly-veiled prelude to my inclusion for Movie Mobsters/Fandango Groovers Presents: Vampires? Hells yes. And here it is.

But besides. He is so damn...good in it. Going from seductive vampire's assistant to a withering old man trying desperately for a few last moments with his love, he elevates the movie in the places Catherine Deneuve couldn't.

3) Basquiat
Not his greatest movie, sure, but as a guy who knew Andy Warhol, and was probably besties with him (he had to be, right?), and, in fact, playing the man around the time they would've known each other in real life, gives the whole thing a meta feel. Anyway, he gets all the tics, the swagger, the whiny voice, the euphoric air, down so well you'd think he was at a party, doing an impression of the guy. Or something. I don't know.

2) Inglorious Basterds

What are you talking about, he wasn't in it? Of course he was in it! His little cameo, as always, made the scene--Shoshana Dreyfuss (Melanie Laurent) suiting up for her incoming onslaught of Jewish vengeance--both powerful and anachronistically...unique.

Here.

1) The Man Who Fell To Earth

Naturally.

*note: I have not seen Labrynth or Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. So don't even start*

22 comments:

Alex said...

<3333 everything about this list.

And even though Labyrinth didn't age too well for me, Bowie makes the movie totally worth it for his ridiculously tight pants, quasi-pedophilia, and arbitrary musical numbers.

October 9, 2010 at 1:45 PM
SugaryCynic said...

^everything Alex just said about Labyrinth but emphasizing his gloriously horrifying camel toe

October 9, 2010 at 2:38 PM
Dan said...

Labyrinth would have to find its way high up on the list for me. He's great in the movie and his songs a damn fine too.

October 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM
Robert said...

I'm totally loving the IB mention. That Shoshanna scene had me on the edge of my seat, due in part largely to the presence of the Bowie song!

October 9, 2010 at 8:19 PM
Simon said...

Alex, Sugary, Dan: Don't start.

Robert: It made the scene, yes.

October 9, 2010 at 9:02 PM
Andreas said...

Wow, I totally empathize as far as the quiet Saturday night + Bowie obsession goes. Labyrinth is nice in that Bowie does way more singing than in these other performances - "You remind me of a babe," and all that.

The "Cat People" scene in Basterds was one of my favorite parts, especially coupled with all the Ms. 45 and Marriage of Maria Braun visual homages that QT was doing.

That picture convinces me that I need to see Basquiat eventually. And Man Who Fell to Earth: yes, just yes. SUCH red hair. Poor, beautiful Tommy.

Now to go listen to all of Ziggy Stardust again...

October 10, 2010 at 1:37 AM
Castor said...

Moment of revelation: I never realized it was THE David Bowie in The Prestige and I have that movie like 10 times!!!

October 10, 2010 at 9:01 AM
Simon said...

Andreas: I didn't catch the Maria Braun references, but now I got to watch it again. Basquiat is worth it only for the performances and/or the cameos aplenty.

Castor: What? Like, what? Oh, you poor dear. Go watch the movie again with this new information and heal.

October 11, 2010 at 4:38 PM
Red said...

First, I would like to apologize in part for my partner Castor for his ignorance. :)

And second, watch Labyrinth. Just seems like a movie that would be up your alley.

October 12, 2010 at 9:46 PM
Jaime said...

Bowie is also very good in John Landis's INTO THE NIGHT - he has a supporting role as a very charming/smug killer. Picture Ricky Gervais's David Brent as a homicidal thug.

And, although I haven't seen it yet, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE comes highly recommended.

And his cameo appearance in Lynch's TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME is indelible.

October 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM
Simon said...

Red: It's okay. It's not your fault.

Jaime: I haven't seen any of them, regrettably. But Merry Christmas is finally coming out, so woot.

October 17, 2010 at 6:33 PM
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